FIFA Warns Brazil of Suspension from International Contests Amidst Leadership Crisis
FIFA has always said no to governments and others getting involved in its member groups. This might mean Brazil won’t be able to take part in big competitions.
On Sunday, FIFA told Brazil that it might stop its national teams and clubs from playing in international contests if the soccer group’s involvement leads to a new president being chosen in January.
FIFA sent a letter to a Brazilian soccer official, warning that if the country’s soccer body, CBF, doesn’t follow its advice to wait and instead quickly elect a new president to replace Ednaldo Rodrigues, it could face suspension.
The letter, obtained by The Associated Press, comes after a court in Rio de Janeiro removed Rodrigues and his appointees from CBF on December 7 due to election irregularities, a decision upheld by Brazil’s highest courts last week.
FIFA doesn’t like outside interference in its member groups and may exclude Brazil, a five-time World Cup winner, from major competitions until the situation is resolved.
The Rio court appointed José Perdiz, head of Brazil’s top sports court, to organize new elections for the presidency within 30 working days, a move FIFA considers unwarranted.
The warning letter, signed by FIFA’s Kenny Jean-Marie and CONMEBOL’s Monserrat Jiménez Garcia, mentions that FIFA and CONMEBOL will create a commission to discuss the matter in Brazil on January 8.
FIFA and CONMEBOL want to stress that no decisions, including elections or calls for elections, should be made regarding CBF until their mission takes place. If this is not respected, FIFA may have to bring the matter to its decision-making body, which could lead to a suspension.
It’s important to note that if CBF is suspended, it will lose all membership rights immediately, and its representative teams and clubs won’t be allowed to participate in any international competitions during the suspension.
The document mentions that any inappropriate involvement in member associations by outside parties can result in sanctions outlined in the FIFA Statutes, such as suspension. This applies even if the member association itself is not at fault for the external influence.
José Perdiz responded to FIFA’s letter, considering it a positive sign. He expressed his commitment to organizing the elections within the set deadline, ensuring transparency and integrity in the process.
Representatives for Rodrigues did not provide a comment in response to a request from the AP.
Rodrigues initially became interim president in 2021 following the suspension of his predecessor, Rogério Caboclo.
Local media reports suggest that Rodrigues is currently in talks with other Brazilian soccer executives, exploring the possibility of running for the presidency again in the upcoming elections or supporting another candidate.
Rodrigues is currently in office until 2026. Unlike some previous CBF presidents like Ricardo Teixeira, José Maria Marin, and Marco Polo del Nero who faced corruption allegations, Rodrigues is not involved in such cases.
Rodrigues took over as president in 2021 after the suspension of Rogério Caboclo, who faced a sexual harassment case at CBF. This transition led to Rodrigues being elected as the first Black president of the soccer body by vice presidents.
The recent legal ruling against the 69-year-old Rodrigues could have implications for Brazil’s bid to host the Women’s World Cup in 2027 and his efforts to bring in Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti to lead the national team next year.